At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

At the Intersection of Faith and Culture


Of Rats and Heroes

posted by Jack Kerwick

Last week, one ofAmerica’s most notorious rats departed from the Earth.  Perhaps with the exception of that of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, there was no other snitch with whose name Americans were more familiar than that of “Henry Hill.”

Unlike Gravano—who, being the right-hand henchman of the now deceased mafia star, John Gotti, achieved a place of distinction in the annals of organized thugdom—Hill was never more than a low-ranking mob “associate.” But although during his life in organized crime the latter never achieved either the power or the recognition attained by the former, Hollywoodassured Hill a post-mob existence ridden with the awe that he failed to elicit from other vermin.

Martin Scorcese’s film Good Fellas catapulted Hill into the national limelight.  He became a sought after guest for a number of tabloid television programs and a frequent quest on Howard Stern’s radio show. In the years immediately prior to his death, he even authored a cook book.

Had Hill genuinely repented of his past transgressions; had he exploited his newly found popularity to wage a campaign against the underworld of which he had once been a member; had he tirelessly spoken out against the moral and aesthetic shallowness that informs Hollywood’s efforts to romanticize the wastes of sperm in whose image he spent much of his life shaping his own identity—then he would have been a worthy candidate for forgiveness. 

But Hill, like Gravano and the legions of other rats that turned state witnesses for no other reason than to save their own asses, failed abysmally to make amends with God and the society that they undercut at every turn.

The same narcissism that animated Hill’s conduct while in the mob accounts for his decision to cooperate with the authorities in sending his friends to prison for the remainder of their natural existences.  It is also this narcissism that explains the crass opportunism that Hill exhibited during his post-mob days.

The Godly and the good are obliged to renounce evil.  They have no option but to call it out for what it is regardless of where it rears its hideous head.  Men like Hill—gangsters and criminals—we must be willing to recognize for the specimens of villainy that they are.  At the same time, we should be just as willing—just as eager—to draw attention to the exemplars of virtue in our midst. 

One such exemplar is Guardian Angel founder and radio talk show host Curtis Sliwa. 

For over thirty years, Sliwa has helped untold numbers of people from across the country and throughout the planet combat crime in their communities by organizing themselves into citizen patrol squads.  He has not only been remarkably successful; in start contrast to the Henry Hills of the world, Sliwa has used his fame for the purpose of identifying—and stopping—the wicked amongst us.

The man is as courageous as his campaign against evil doers is indefatigable. 

During the summer of 1992, in response to the relentless criticism that Sliwa would heap upon the organized criminal network of his nativeNew York City, and the Gambino family particularly, Gottis father and son arranged to have him beaten by several men with baseball bats. 

Sliwa took the beating.  But he also returned promptly to his job on the radio where he returned fire with a vengeance. 

A few months later, the Gottis struck again.  This time, though, they went in for the kill.

One night Sliwa hailed a cab.  Unbeknownst to him, the driver was a hit man.  At nearly point-blank range, he shot Sliwa five times.  During the mayhem, the latter managed to wiggle his way out of the passenger’s window as the car was moving.  

Sliwa not only survived this attempt on his life.  The very next day, from his hospital bed, Sliwa was back on the airwaves going at the Gottis with everything he had. 

Years later, when Junior Gotti was on trial for all manner of criminal wrongdoing, including attempted murder vis-à-vis Sliwa, the crime buster reassured the media and his listeners of his plan to “get in his [Gotti’s] face” as much as possible.

The fight against evil requires not only that we repudiate the treacherous.  It requires as well that we affirm the heroic. 

Sadly, we should not expectHollywoodto follow this lead anytime soon.  Hundreds of more films will be made lionizing rats and other parasites before anyone will dare to propose, let alone produce, a big budget film depicting the exploits of real men like Curtis Sliwa.

 



Previous Posts

If I Am a Moral Relativist, So is God
Evidently, I am a moral relativist. In a recent article, I applauded a colleague for adapting to our school stage a play—Songs for a New World.  This play, I contended, marked a quite radical departure from the standard Politically Correct line insofar as it resoundingly affirmed “the morali

posted 9:23:32pm Apr. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Affirming Individuality: Reflections on "Songs for a New World"
Legions of Americans have, rightly, written off the entertainment and academic industries (yes, the latter is a colossal industry) as the culture’s two largest bastions of leftist ideology. Sometimes, however, and when we least expect it, the prevailing “Politically Correct” (PC) orthodoxy

posted 5:59:05pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Pope Francis: A Socialist By Any Other Name
Pope Francis is once again insisting that he is not a communist, that his abiding concern for “the poor” is grounded in the Gospel of Christ, not the ideology of Marx, Engels, or any other communist. Back in 2010, while still a Cardinal, he felt the need to do the same. Why? It may very

posted 8:48:27pm Apr. 08, 2014 | read full post »

Pope Francis: As Clever a Politician as They Come
Much to the disappointment of this Catholic, Pope Francis balked on a golden opportunity to convey to the world just how fundamentally, how vehemently, the vision of the Church differs from that of President Obama when the two met a couple of weeks back. Why?  Can it be that Francis is the fello

posted 9:30:34pm Apr. 04, 2014 | read full post »

Jeb Bush: Disaster for the GOP
So, the word is that the fat cat GOP donors are eyeing up Jeb Bush as a presidential candidate for 2016. If there’s any truth to this—and, tragically, it appears that there most certainly is—then there is but one conclusion left for any remotely sober person to draw: The Republican Party

posted 10:05:38pm Apr. 01, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.